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Killed in Iraq, Local Marine Salvador Guerrero Laid to Rest

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

About 400 friends and family members gathered at the funeral for Salvador Guerrero on Wednesday, at St. Mary's Catholic Church, followed by his burial at Rose Hills Memorial Park.

Killed in Iraq, Loca...
1.jpg9mmfmp.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x256

Caption for first photo: Whittier resident Rosa Maria Guerrero, center, is consoled by her husband Salvador Guerrero, Sr., left, and their younger son at right, as she mourns for her elder son United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, during burial ceremony at Ros e Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. Lcpl Guerrero was killed while serving in Iraq on June 9, 2006. US Marine representatives presented the parents with a US Flag, a Purple Heart medal and a commendation from the president of the United States. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)

Local Marine is buried

At 21, Guerrero was the last living of three childhood friends

By Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell, Staff writer
Long Beach Press Telegram

WHITTIER -- During their childhood years in West Whittier, Raymond Lara and cousins Armando and Salvador Guerrero were joined at the hip.

They would spend hours splashing around in Lara's swimming pool, swinging on monkey bars and hopping fences throughout the neighborhood, only coming inside when front yard sprinklers came on at night.

Now, the three friends are all gone. Lara died in an alleged street racing incident in 2002, Armando Guerrero put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger in 2003 and Marine Lance Cpl. Salvador Guerrero died in early June in Iraq.

“It's strange because I never saw it coming and sad because I will never see them again,” said Salvador Guerrero's cousin, Jose Vega.

Vega joined about 400 friends and family members at the funeral for Salvador Guerrero, the last of the three friends, Wednesday at St. Mary's Catholic Church, followed by his burial at Rose Hills Memorial Park.

Guerrero, 21, an ammunition man assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Marine Expeditionary Force in June 2005, died June 9 when the Humvee he was riding in with three others hit a land mine in Al Anbar province, Iraq.

He would have turned 22 this month and returned home in September.

At St. Mary's, family members clad in white T-shirts bearing Guerrero's picture and name followed the coffin carried by fellow Marines into the cavernous church.

There the Rev. Steve Nyl told them that although they are sad and hurting now, eventually they will be reunited with Salvador.

At the gravesite, members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group that works to stop anti-war protesters from disrupting funerals for service men and women, flew American flags.

After a rifle salute, fellow Marines handed Guerrero's sobbing mother, Rosa, the American flag that was draped over his coffin and a collage of pictures from services held for him in Iraq, which she clutched tightly to her chest.

Rosa was too grief stricken to release a white dove in his memory, but his father Salvador Sr. released the first of about 10 that circled overhead.

While Rosa left soon after the services in a black sports utility vehicle that was to be her son's when he returned from the war, others lingered sharing memories of the shy, artistic boy with the good sense of humor who grew up to be a courageous Marine.

“I remember the time he wore a shirt that said No Fat Chicks' to church, he was always doing funny things like that,” said Elisa Guerrero, his cousin.

He also learned to make do with second-hand toys or items picked up at an area swap meet when his family struggled in their early years, she said.

His greatest joy over the years was spending time with Lara, whom he met as a pre-schooler, and his cousin Armando.

“They were always happy and always in the pool or playing baseball or football on the street,” said Raymond Lara Sr., Lara's father.

Armando moved away to Pico Rivera in his teens, but he still came back to visit the old neighborhood.

Lara and Guerrero stayed close, cruising the streets in Guerrero's white Camaro listening to Tupac Shakur or the Red Hot Chili Peppers or working on Lara's Volkswagen Bug in his driveway.

The good times for the three came to an end when Lara died at age 18 in a traffic collision on Norwalk Boulevard, and Armando, who was in training to be a Marine, killed himself at age 19.

Guerrero, a graduate of Frontier High School, went on to join the Marines after shedding about 80 pounds of the weight he accumulated in his childhood.

And about three months ago he left from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms en route to Iraq.

His mother believed he had been training in Japan until the day that three Marines showed up at her Whittier home to tell her he had died in combat.

“He really loved his mom and didn't want to upset her,” said Elisa Guerrero.

He is survived by his mother, Rosa; his father, Salvador; his 16-year-old brother, Rudolpho; and an extended family.

Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell can be reached at debbie.pfeiffer@sgvn.com or (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028.

Copyright © 2006 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
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Honor Guard Carries Casket

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Honor Guard Carries ...
2.jpga5z9iz.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x258

The body of United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, arrives at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Whittier on June 21, 2006. Lcpl Guerrero was killed while serving in Iraq. US Marine representatives presented the parents with a US Flag, a Purple Heart medal and a commendation from the president of the United States. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Honor Guard Carries Casket (2)

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Honor Guard Carries ...
3.jpgvmezr3.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x260

The body of United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, arrives at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Whittier on June 21, 2006. . (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Priest Says Mass

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Priest Says Mass...
4.jpgi1zdou.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x288

Father Steven Nyl says mass for United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Family Leaves Church

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Family Leaves Church...
5.jpgarwztg.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x270

The parents, center left father Salvador Guerrero Sr., mother Rosa Maria Guerrero, and their son, and family of United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, leave St. Mary's Catholic Church in Whittier after the funeral service. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Honor Guard Carries Casket (3)

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Honor Guard Carries ...
6.jpgowyvs4.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x254

The body of United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, leaves St. Mary's Catholic Church in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Honor Guard Carries Casket (4)

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Honor Guard Carries ...
7.jpgv6rksy.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x266

The body of United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, leaves St. Mary's Catholic Church in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Casket is Blessed

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Casket is Blessed...
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The body of United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, is blessed with incince by Fr. Nyl during funeral service at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Mourners Leave Service

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Mourners Leave Servi...
9.jpgyxdi9w.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x264

Mourners leave funeral service for United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Parents Wait

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Parents Wait...
10.jpgj971lr.jpg, image/jpeg, 340x390

The parents of United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, Salvador Guerrero Sr. and Rosa Maria Guerrero, wait for funeral service to begin at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Flag Draped

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Flag Draped...
11.jpgr3mfh9.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x271

The USA flag is drapped over the casquet of United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Priest Says Prayer

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Priest Says Prayer...
12.jpghmmeja.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x280

Father Steven Nyl of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Whittier says a prayer for United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, during burial ceremony at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Casket Prepared for Burial

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Casket Prepared for ...
13.jpgjg9o9s.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x244

United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, is prepared for burial at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Father Prepares to Release White Dove

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Father Prepares to R...
14.jpg6lqtiu.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x192

Whittier resident Salvador Guerrero, Sr., center, prepares to release a white dove as his wife sits in the background, during funeral services for their elder son United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Flag Presented to Family

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Flag Presented to Fa...
15.jpgr50aqu.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x292

Whittier resident Rosa Maria Guerrero, center, being consoled by her husband Salvador Guerrero, Sr., left, and their younger son at right, is presented with the United States flag by a US Marine representative as she mourns for her elder son United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, during burial ceremony at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Flag Removed

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Flag Removed...
16.jpglacrua.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x195

US Flag is removed as white doves are released during burial service for United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Mother Consoled

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Mother Consoled...
17.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x258

Whittier resident Rosa Maria Guerrero, center, is consoled by her husband Salvador Guerrero, Sr., left, and their younger son at right, as she mourns for her elder son United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, during burial ceremony at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Family Presented with Photos

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Family Presented wit...
18.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x279

Whittier resident Rosa Maria Guerrero, center, is consoled by her husband Salvador Guerrero, Sr., left, and their younger son at right, as she is presented with photos of her son in service in Iraq as she mourns for her son United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, during burial ceremony at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Purple Heart

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Purple Heart...
19.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x309

The Purple Heart medal bestowed to United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, during burial ceremony at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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Purple Heart (2)

by DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Purple Heart (2)...
20.jpg, image/jpeg, 384x390

The Purple Heart medal bestowed to United States Marines Lance Corporal Salvador Guerrero, Jr., 21, of Whittier, during burial ceremony at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. (Raul Roa/Staff Photo)
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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 3 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Link to Previous Articles DJ Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 12:43 PM
Same Boat and So Sorry Meghan Hammond Wednesday, Jul. 05, 2006 at 12:42 PM
The Devil (George Warmonger Bush) on Iraq The Devil (George Warmonger Bush) Thursday, Jul. 06, 2006 at 4:26 AM
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